Systemic administration of N-acetylcysteine has no effect on postoperative lung function following elective upper laparotomy in lung healthy patients

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1989 Apr;33(3):219-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.1989.tb02894.x.


In a randomized, double-blind study, 131 consecutive patients, subjected to elective upper laparotomy, were prophylactically given the recommended dose of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (Mucomyst, ASTRA) (200 mg x 3) or placebo against postoperative pulmonary complications. The effect was evaluated by lung function tests (VC and FEV1), arterial blood gas analyses and chest x-ray. No benefit could be demonstrated, either to postoperative pulmonary function or in the frequency of atelectasis in the recommended dose. However, no patients with preoperative bronchopulmonary disease demanding treatment with bronchodilatators were included in the study. A positive effect of NAC in this category of patients could not be excluded.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / administration & dosage
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Laparotomy / adverse effects*
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / prevention & control*
  • Random Allocation
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio / drug effects
  • Vital Capacity / drug effects


  • Placebos
  • Acetylcysteine